Main Menu

My Account
Online Free Samples
   Free sample   Bbc case study organizational behaviour

BBC Case Study: Organizational Behaviour


Case Study – Changing Times at the BBC
The BBC has been undergoing significant change in the past few years leading to an independent review in 2016 which found that there were some “serious failings in the BBC’s culture and its systems of communication, management and investigation” (Smith, 2016:32) at the time, with concerns around bullying and harassment or staff complaints not being listened to. Aside from this there have also been criticisms about the pay/gender gap between staff.

The organization had a new Director General in 2015 who has spearheaded, via the HR department, large scale re- organisation, leading to the development of a culture which now sees people “coming to work wanting to do the best they can” (Hughes-D’Aeth, 2017). Read the article in Appendices 1 and 2 and then carry out your own research on the subject and on the BBC, to answer the following questions.

Part 1
LO1: Analyse the influence of culture, politics and power on the behaviour of others in an organisational context

LO2: Evaluate how to motivate individuals and teams to achieve a goal

Task 1
How have the following affected behaviour of staff within the BBC in the recent past and today?:

  • Organisational culture
  • Power and political behaviour of managers

Tips: Your answer must refer to the case study and Smith Review (2016) findings and must also apply appropriate theories: Organisational culture e.g. Handy’s typology, Hofstede’s work, Deal and Kennedy; Power e.g. French and Raven’s power types; Political behaviour of managers e.g. Chanlat’s characteristics of such behaviour. Consider the more negative aspects of what happened in the past at the BBC and how behaviour and culture has changed, on the whole, for the better now, you may wish to refer to the BBCs values for further evidence (see Appendix 2).

Task 2

  1. It is important for the BBC to get the best out of its employees, both in an individual and a team capacity. Explain how content and process theories of motivation can help to achieve this.
    Tips: You should avoid describing a theory or model – look at what the model/theory involves and make the link between this and individual and team effectiveness. You must refer to at least one content and one process theory in your answer.
  2. How will improved levels of motivation within the BBC help to achieve its organisational goals?

Part 2
LO3: Demonstrate an understanding of how to cooperate effectively with others

LO4: Apply concepts and philosophies of organisational behaviour to a given business situation

Task 3

  1. Identify and explain the different types of teams (you must include functional, problem solving and project and virtual teams), within the BBC and why having different types of teams is important.
  2. Explain what makes an effective team in the BBC. In answering this question you should relate to appropriate theory such as Tuckman and Jensen’s model of team development and/or Belbin’s team roles.

Task 4

  1. Using an appropriate organisational concept/theory (such as path-goal theory) suggest how team performance and productivity could be improved within the BBC.
  2. What have been the main barriers to effective performance within the BBC?


Human resource is the driving force of an organization and hence it’s important to create a health working environment for the employees to flourish. This BBC Case Study reveals the effect of power, culture and politics on the behaviour of the managers and the productivity of the employees. BBC has been selected for this study as there was an occurrence of organizational issues in the recent times. Hence, it is the best issue to study the various aspects of motivational factors of the employees that delves into the analysis of the factors mentioned above.

Overview of the Organization

BBC News Channel case study

Image: Official logo of the BBC News Channel
(Source:, 2018)

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a publicly funded news broadcasting organization, based in the United Kingdom, and is the oldest organization of its kind in the world. The sustenance of the organization till date with authentic news coverage and accurate news analysis is result of its more than sixteen thousand employees, who constitute the diverse workforce of the company. However, a review published in 2016, Smith Review made it necessary to raise question regarding the plight of the employees in BBC.

Part 1
LO 1
Organizational Culture: Organizational culture is defined as the set of ethics, work culture, mottos, beliefs, code of conduct and communicating strategies within an organization that creates a healthy environment in it (Cacciattolo, 2014). This work environment is also determined by the attitude of the employees towards one another and the employee-employer relations in an organization. Organizational culture is very important to keep intact the diverse workforce of an enterprise and it becomes all the more vital for smooth functioning of the enterprise. In an enormous organization like BBC which has a commendable presence in international media platform and where people of various unique potentialities work together, organizational culture is both crucial and difficult to maintain.

The finding about BBC’s workforce carried out in 2016 reveals a dilemma among the employees, which reflects a weak organizational culture. Charle’s Handy, who designed the famous typology of factors affecting organization culture, defined the concept as a norm that is followed by every working individual while performing duties that do not have a written record (Elkhalil, 2018). A major revelation made by the Handy’s typology model is that the culture in an organization is determined by a dominant stratum of individuals working in the organization itself. This culture is very well predominant in the 2016 report on BBC’s work culture, wherein some of the employees had complained of harassment, gender bias in payments, bullying, to name a few.

The theory of cultural dimensions forwarded by Geert Hofstede would throw more light on the problems that surfaced in the organizational culture of BBC. One of the dimensions of mapping the level of suitability of organizational culture is “power distance”. This dimension is clearly reflected in the case of 2016, which is clear by the employee’s information of harassment. However, the dimension of “masculinity” in the model only reflects the gender based differences in payment of the employees. Employees are harassed on the basis of positions, gender, persona; capabilities and weakness and a lot more thing. Other dimensions of the model like “individualism”, “uncertainty avoidance index” and “long term orientation” do not seem to be determinants of organizational culture in BBC. The Human Resource department on realizing the trauma of the workforce and sensing that they might leave the organization went for a overhauling of the organizational culture. Campaigns on being outspoken without fear of being judged, effective management, recognition for commendable performance, were some of the tools which brought back the positive organizational culture of BBC to the forefront.

Managerial Power and Behaviour
Managers are considered to be torchbearer of the organization, who leads the workforce as a friend, philosopher, and guide (Jiang and Li, 2013). However, the dilemmas of the BBC employees as evident from the Smith Review (2016) show a complete opposite nature of the manager, who in a way had failed in their job. In order to identify the type of power the mangers of BBC accumulated and applied and the one form that they should have applied, the best model to put to use could be that of the “five forms of power” defined by “John French and Bertram Raven”. The types of power, described in this model apply to both the political leaders and the mangers of an organization. This model shows how managers, like politicians seem to take the matters of the employees lightly and the result is employees lose interest in work and gradually the organization loses the employees (Jury et al., 2018). This model defines “coercive power” as something that compels a person to do a specific task. Sometimes, the act of managers to push the employees beyond their limitations can be termed as “coercion” but it is legitimate to an extent that does not mentally and physically exploit the worker. “Reward power” is rather an amicable way in which the managers shift the workload of unwanted work to the employees and on completion of the tasks, give them awards. This type of power is undoubtedly an effective way of pushing the workers beyond their limitations and for doing so they are encouraged and recognized with rewards.

The customary power of the managers to award both prizes and punishment is what is known as the “legitimate power”. This power has nothing special about it and the manager, upon change of the post, loses this power. “Referent power” is something that makes the manager more of a friend rather than a leader. Nevertheless, there are definite limitations on the friendliness that the junior employees should maintain. This power is supposedly the one that was utilized by the mangers of BBC to improve the organizational culture for the employees. The mangers became more considerate towards the problems of the junior employees and this made the management solve the employee problems in no time. This type of managerial power is also reflected in one of the organizational values of BBC: “respecting each other and celebrating their diversity”.

LO 2
Content and Process Theories of Motivation: One of the process theories of motivation that goes down well with the scenario of BBC is the “goal setting theory”. This theory is directly linked to performance enhancement of the employees by having a clear vision of the goals. BBC is a media broadcasting enterprise which gives ample impetus to the creative idea dos its workforce. Creativity in the case of BBC is the major way that would develop the quality of work both at the individual and performance levels. Goals cannot be utopian; they have to be practical, and achievable. Motivation of the employees is factored by recognition of their works, both within the team and within the organization. BBC, as stated comprises of a diverse workforce where uniqueness resides in the working methods of each and every employee. The manager through the “goal setting theory” can easily exploit the individualistic potentials of the employees without making them feel burdened with immense work pressure. This will not only create quality driven work but will help the employees to grow individually and as a team

The “assumption theory of management” put forward by McGregor talks about a different type of managerial power, which is psychological and comes with experience (Porter et al., 2003). This seems to be a simple task but requires immense knowledge about the nature, behaviour, strengths, weakness, and other such aspects of each and every employee working under the manger. The manger, while exercising this type of managerial behaviour classifies the employees into two categories, McGregor coined them as “X” and “Y”. While “X” entails the common human natures like, avoiding work, pushing the burden to the subordinates, procrastinating, and to be directed and advised at every step. Employees who according to this model, fall under category “Y” are in simple language, the ones who love their work and are always ready to accept challenges thereby learning new things and enhancing their skill set. In no way can the employees of BBC be termed as category “X” workers, as they “take pride in delivering quality work”. Quality work can never be attained by operating within a restricted boundary; it requires to venture in challenging horizons and learning something new every day.

Motivation for Goal Achievement: Motivation is one of the keys to enter into the zone of goal achievement as it keeps the passion for work alive in an individual (Rajah and Kian, 2014). It is possible that through appropriate motivational strategies, a “theory X” employee can be converted into a “theory Y” employee, gradually. The central idea of bringing this change is to generate the love for the work and this will happen when the employees will feel motivated by their managers. Motivation empowers an employee with the mental strength to think out of the box and create ideas that are new and diverse. This type of motivation is very important for the employees of BBC, where there is the opportunity to create minor to major differences through ideas of the employees.

Media is called the third pillar of democracy because it has been evident worldwide that media has been able to render justice to people in cases which otherwise seemed impossible (Scheuer, 2000). Creative news making and performing as a bridge between the government and the common people, BBC can bring about changes in the lives of the people; by taking the foot forwards to solve problems that have till now fell in deaf years. Employees should be motivated to a level that they realize their potentialities even outside the organizational boundaries and that they are capable of bring huge social harmony in the world.

One of the organizational values of BBC is “trust is the foundation of BBC; we are independent, impartial and honest”. This attitude should be developed in the heart and the minds of the populace and this can be done by the undying efforts of the employees. Leisure is one of the primary requisite of enhanced productivity (Sierk et al., 2011). The employees should be motivated to take short term breaks from their work and spend times with their families. Social engagements will also make them aware of the social changes that occur every day which they otherwise fail to notice due to work pressure. Moreover, noting a piece of news in an article from job’s perspective might not give them the scope to reflect on it in a better manner. Gaining knowledge from the outside world will fill the gaps and empower them which will ultimately lead to the progress of BBC as an organization.

Part 2
LO 3
Various Forms of Teams
Functional Team: The corporate team of BBC is its functional team and comprises of experts from various fields of the organization like: corporate affairs, human resource, marketing team, logistics department, and communication department. The aim of this team to devise organizational policies and hence chiefs from the various sub-categories of the organization structure are its core members. The idea is to be aware of the challenges faced and the opportunities lying in front of very department of BBC. The fact that the human resource is one of the basic components of this team makes it clear that employee and employability policies are given utmost importance in the organization.

Problem Solving Team: This team is generally temporary in nature and is crated on an ad-hoc basis on the arousal of any problem in the organization (Stack, 2013). The problem can be either related to the service delivery mechanism, technical faults, employee grievances, etc. BBC does not have a problem solving team nor has it ever created one on an ad-hoc basis. The reason is simple: to inculcate the quality of problem solving in every individual employer starting from the subordinates to the ones holding the top notch positions. For the same reason, no problem solving team was created even when the problems of employees’ at the workplace came to the limelight through the Smith Review (2016). The human resource department acted in the leadership of the newly appointed human resource manager and the problem was solved in an accurate way.

Project Team: A project team comprises employees from various fields having expertise in different genres, who come together to develop a high end project as per the requirements. A project team therefore includes a technical head, person from the sales’ department, communication manager, planning manager, etc. carrying diverse roles to give the project its desired shape. Since BBC is a news broadcasting organization, the need for project team arises only n case the organization decided to start a new project, related to any social cause for example, or might be for a stung operation, etc.

Virtual Team: A virtual team generally works outside the organizational set up, across differed lands and terrains to collect information (Jury et al., 2018). As the definition suggests, it is mandatory for BBC to have a virtual team and it does have a dedicated and centralized virtual team. The aim of centralizing the virtual team was to improve the quality of research of development for of authentic information and also searching for links if any between news pieces from various subjects.

It is important to have different teams at work in an organization for diversifying the roles and responsibilities among the employees (Zoltan and Vancea, 2016). On the one hand, this reduces the work load from the employee and also keeps them motivated towards their work. However, maintaining teams that do not need to function on a regular basis and the tasks can be fulfilled by creating them on a temporary basis entails extra costs. BBC’s team set up policy therefore prevents the unnecessary cost of maintain temporary teams.

Team Effectiveness: According to the model of “team development” Tuckman and Jensen, an effective team is the one which has been created through systematic planning and adequate time to grow at every stage (Jury et al., 2018). The various stages of building an effective team, according to this model are as follows:

  1. Forming: This is an introductory phase for the team members and is vital for developing the interpersonal and the communicative skills of the members. The employees or the members are to be guided at almost every step and hence in this phase, there is a chance for the leader to turn authoritative. At BBC however, the human resource manager is someone who understands the problems of the employees and hence there is not chance that she might turn authoritative.
  2. Storming: With days of association with one another the employees at this stage become aware of one another and it is normal that they develop both amicable and bitter relationships with their peers. At this stage, the managerial competencies of the team leader are tested as he has to bring the team members out of tensed situations in order to keep them motivated in order to produce the deliverables.
  3. Norming: At this stage, the team members develop a better understanding of the organizational values and try to rise above personal conflicts among one another and maintain the best professional relations. The teams working in BBC has reached this position long back and this was made possible with the apt strategies of human resource management that brought the employees together.
  4. Performing: This is the phase of team development that is existent with the organizational boundaries of BBC at this moment. Constant support of the team members towards other and realization of the individual competencies and discrepancies have made them top class professionals who strive to work together for the development of the organization.
  5. Adjourning: After the goal of a particular team is realized or the project has been completed, the team is dissolved. In case of BBC this has happened only for the temporary teams that have been enumerated in the preceding section.

LO 4
Performance and Productivity Improvement: Although BBC has overcome the turbulent times and with the excellent workforce has again revived its organizational credibility, there is always a scope for improvement in productivity and performance. An employee’s expectation about his or her performance by knowing the effort he or she can make is largely factored the nature in which the manager behaves with the employee (Panayiotou and Vrana, 2004). This logic is well explained by the “path-goal model” of employee motivation that has been postulated by Robert House. According to this model, there can be three behaviors that a manager might acquire: “directive”, “supportive”, “participative”, and “achievement oriented”.

In BBC all these behaviors should be acquire by the team leaders as of when required, however, the focus should be more on “achievement oriented” behaviour”. By following this behavioral trace, the manger will be able to motivate employees to excel in fields that they haven’t explored till now. The managers can put achievable challenges in front of the employees as the manager is aware of the strengths and weaknesses of her team members. However, the extent of success of this behaviour also depends upon the nature of the employees, whether they fall in the “X” or the “Y” category and also on the organizational environment.

Barriers to Effective Performance: Initially, when the Smith Review (2016) came out evidently there was poor communication between the management and the employees of BBC. This might be due to the lack of effective employee grievance redressal mechanism which frightened the employees of dire consequences on reporting about their vulnerable situation to the management. As a result their problems remained unsolved and they had to face problems within the workplace time and again. This created mental stress on them and reduced their productivity. The persistent stress among the victimized employees also degraded the work environment of the organization much against the organizational culture and ethics. These factors created hindrance in the path of effective performance delivery from the part of the employees.

The gender led discrimination among the employees that is clear from the payment scenario has also demotivated the employees of BBC to work in a suitable environment. It might also have been the case that these discrepancies led to the creation of a patriarchic feeling and also culminated in the harassment of the female employees. The employees had to face the humiliation of their co-workers, who should actually have acted as support system of the victims. This resulted in an inappropriate professional relationship among the employees, lack of co-operation and the overall performance of the organization took a downward trend.

As the aim of the BBC Case Study was to relate the politics, power and culture with the changing behaviour of the individuals this BBC Case Study reveals many linkages between the organizational culture, behaviour of the managers and their impact on the performance of the organization. Various models and theories have been discussed in this BBC Case Study that can be incorporated in the organizations in the real world to bring positive difference s in their overall performance. BBC case study assignments are being prepared by our online management assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable best assignment help service

Cacciattolo, K. (2014). Understanding Organisational Cultures. European Scientific Journal, 2(18), pp.1-7.

Elkhalil, Y. (2018). Organizational Politics and Employee Behavior: A Comparison Between the U.S. and Lebanon. Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Collection, 2(5), pp.8-11.

Jiang, L. and Li, Y. (2013). The Role of Safety Motivation in Safety Performance Model: A Multilevel Model from a Self-determination Theory Perspective. Advances in Psychological Science, 20(1), pp.35-44.

Jury, M., Quiamzade, A., Darnon, C. and Mugny, G. (2018). Higher and lower status individuals’ performance goals: The role of hierarchy stability. Motivation Science, 4(8), pp.34-42.

Panayiotou, G. and Vrana, S. (2004). The Role of Self-Focus, Task Difficulty, Task Self-Relevance, and Evaluation Anxiety in Reaction Time Performance. Motivation and Emotion, 28(2), pp.171-196.

Porter, L., Bigley, G. and Steers, R. (2003). Motivation and work behavior. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Rajah, S. and Kian, T. (2014). Job Satisfaction And Motivation: What Are The Difference Among These Two?. European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 3(2), pp.94-102.

Rajah, S. and Kian, T. (2014). Job Satisfaction And Motivation: What Are The Difference Among These Two?. European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 3(2), pp.94-102.

Sierk, Y., Dvora Yanow, Y. and Ida, S. (2011). Organizational Culture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.

Sierk, Y., Dvora Yanow, Y. and Ida, S. (2011). Organizational Culture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.

Zoltan, R. and Vancea, R. (2016). Work Group Development Models – The Evolution From Simple Group To Effective Team. Ecoforum, 5(1), pp.3-7. (2018). BBC - Homepage. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2018].


Related Samples

Question Bank

Looking for Your Assignment?

Search Assignment
Plagiarism free Assignment









9/1 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, NSW, 2060
1 Vista Montana, San Jose, CA, 95134